World Championship final: Mark Williams leads John Higgins at the Crucible

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World Championship: Mark Williams takes control in final – 5 best shots
2018 World Championship final
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 6-7 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, Connected TV, BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Two-time champion Mark Williams holds a 10-7 lead over four-time winner John Higgins after a fascinating first day of the World Championship final.

Wales’ Williams, 43, surged 4-0 ahead before Higgins found his form to get off the mark with a century break.

Two further tons helped the 42-year-old Scot level the final at 7-7 but Williams added one of his own as he won the last three frames of the day.

World Championship final: Mark Williams leads John Higgins at the Crucible
World Championship final: Mark Williams leads John Higgins at the Crucible

The best-of-35 final resumes live on BBC Two at 14:00 BST on Monday.

The winner will collect the trophy and a record £425,000 in prize money at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

Both players are aiming to become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon, who was 45 when he triumphed in 1978, and shared four centuries and eight further breaks of 50 or more.

Late-night kebab gives Williams energy

Williams, who last reached the final 18 years ago when he beat Ken Doherty, completed his dramatic last-four tie against Barry Hawkins at 23:50 BST the previous night.

Two hours later he was having a kebab and chips at a takeaway in Sheffield and he was still feeling hungry during the final when he asked to share some crisps, chocolate snacks and sweets with a fan sitting in the arena beside him.

Mark Williams

It seemed to help as Williams – who contemplated retiring last year after a poor run of form – punished the Scot for uncharacteristic errors to gain a slender 5-3 advantage after the first session.

The first four frames of the second session were shared with Williams making 72, and Higgins, who last won the title in 2011, taking a scrappy frame and following up his earlier 119 with a 127.

Williams looked set to go 8-6 in front in the 14th frame but the cue ball went in off and Higgins capitalised with another century, this time 117, to level the match.

Williams, though, stroked in a break of 118 and punished Higgins for missing a black off the spot with 64, as well as taking the last for a three-frame cushion overnight.

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Shot of the Championship? Williams’ ‘unbelievable’ pot

‘Williams looks really assured’ – analysis

Six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two: “That was an astonishing last frame with Higgins making a schoolboy error.

“I knew Higgins could win this final but I wasn’t so sure about Mark Williams but he’s shown he can. He looks really assured.

“John will rest up tonight and have another big push tomorrow. He has the ability to do that.”

Mark Williams
Williams was in such good form he even potted a pink with his eyes closed in the third frame

Frame scores

John Higgins (Sco) 7-10 Mark Williams (Wal)

First session: 23-75, 15-65, 35-72, (55) 60-70, (119) 120-4, 0-133 (95), (52) 98-0, (59) 82-21

Second session: 46-81 (72), (51) 75-31, (127) 127-8, 12-76, (56) 85-9, (117) 123-15, 0-123 (118), 35-64 (64), 43-80

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